Playing With Dead Things Is a Very #BadDad Thing To Do

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Note: The article contains pictures of animal remains. If you are not comfortable with that, please do not read on.

All the squeamish folks gone? Great, let’s carry on then…

Growing up, I used to love taking long hikes in the woods behind my grandparents’ house. These days my grandparents are no longer with us, but the house still is. We went up last month, and one of the first things on our to do list was to take a hike. So off we went, me, my four year-old son and my fourteen year-old daughter.

Sadly, many of the areas where I used to hike are now too densely forested or dangerous to access. My big hope was to show my daughter a deer trail or two, as they always run up the property. Instead, we found this:

Aww, it was a little fellah.
“Hey, watch where you’re walking!”

Amusing as my son’s gasp of “Eek, a skeleton!” was (and yes, he actually said the word “Eek”), far better was my daughter’s reaction: a desire to know more. We began searching the wooded area, carefully. We then located more remains.

Confession: I may have not been as mellow if I had found this first.
Confession: I may have not been as mellow if I had found this first.
That's one way to shut him up, I guess.
That’s one way to shut him up, I guess.

My daughter has wanted to be a doctor since she was six, so this was fascinating to her. We identified what bones we could (including another segment of ribs and a leg or two), shared theories about what killed it (judging from the scattering of the remains in relative proximity and the area, smart money is on a small wolf pack), and how old it likely was (judging from the antlers, not very). We also established that no, we will not be going hiking in the woods at night any time soon.

So yes, I let my daughter examine dead things (we did not touch it directly). And now I am searching for how to sterilize bones so that she can take some segments home next time we go up (the trick, of course, is Googling that without ending up on a watch list). If that’s not being a #BadDad, I’m not sure what is.

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